Insights on How Long Successful Clients Take to Prepare for the Patent Bar Exam

Ever wonder just how long it takes to prepare for and pass the patent bar exam?

We decided to review success stories and additional comments sent in by clients who recently passed the exam to find out what the average length of study time is.

Here are the details of the study …

The comments from the last 35 clients providing feedback through our survey form who both passed the exam and provided data about how long they spent studying were reviewed.

The last 35 comments were used in order to focus only on recent statistics in order to be relevant to today’s test taker. The study would not be as helpful if data from a decade ago or more was used. Instead, the study was limited to the last 35 clients who provided both pieces of data which only went back the last couple of years or so.

The number 35 was selected because it is enough to start gaining an idea of approximate study times within a recent range.

After reviewing the data, it was found that the range in study time was less than 1 month (1 week) up to 1.5 years. Again, this is for the last 35 clients who provided an estimate of the time needed to prepare for the exam along with achieving a passing score.

Here’s a breakdown of the approximate study time for those last 35 clients:

  • Study time over 1 year: 2
  • Study time at or around 1 year: 2
  • Study time at or around 9 months: 1
  • Study time at or around 6 months: 6
  • Study time at or around 4 months: 5
  • Study time at or around 3 months: 12
  • Study time at or around 2 months: 5
  • Study time at 1 month or less: 2

Here it is in a visual format:

As you can see, the time range chosen the most often by far is the 3 month plan.

Three months was chosen at a rate twice that of the next most popular plan which was 6 months.

Two and 4 months were only slightly less at a little under half as popular.

The rest were limited to just 1 or 2 clients.

As shown from the breakdown; between 2 and 6 months are the most popular study prep times with 3 months being the most popular.

Three months may be the most popular plan because once you apply to take the exam, the USPTO sets a 90-day window during which you must schedule and take the exam. So a lot of people may be applying, find out they have been approved, and then schedule an exam date at the very end of that 90-day period which equates to 3 months.

This isn’t a bad idea because knowing you can’t postpone your exam date will help keep a lot of people on track. It’s a hard deadline which works well for many people. The only problem is when life gets in the way and you just aren’t ready by the end of that time-period.

We typically advise clients to start studying first and when around half-way through your preparations, send in your application to sit for the patent bar. You can always schedule an exam date well before the 90-day window and in many cases just the week or two after you’re accepted at most Prometric centers if you happen to be ready.

As far as how many hours clients are studying, that’s hard to estimate. A lot of our clients who sent in success stories tried to estimate the specific number of hours they spent studying, but many qualified it with a statement that they weren’t sure. As you can imagine, unless you log your time, it would be difficult to know exactly how many hours were spent studying.

Here is a sampling of total hours from the same 35 clients:

  • “Difficult to say. More than 200 hours.”
  • “About 16 weeks, approximately 12-20 hours per week”
  • ” … off and on for 8 weeks. averaged 6 days a week. probably 4 hours a day. probably about 150 hours total.
  • “Studied for a little less than 3 months. Probably on average 10-15 hours per week.”
  • “3 months. Averaged probably an hour a day, then a few 6 hour sessions towards the end.”
  • “About 60 days, average of about 2-3 hours per day until the last week during which I spent about 5-6 hours per day.”
  • “About 200 hours over 4 months.”
  • “Have full time employment so I’m lucky to find 10 hrs a week to study. So 5 months in earnest. Then 20-30 hrs closer to exam.”
  • “I spent 6 months preparing for the test. Average of about 8-10 hours of study per week. The last month or so was solely exam simulator, with two full length exams taken on the two days prior to the actual exam.”

After reviewing each set of comments there’s a minimum average of about 120 hours to 240+ hours of total study time.

But you can’t just spend 240+ hours randomly studying different chapters out of the MPEP.

Focusing on the most likely to be tested topics and getting in both facts as well as the location of the facts is very important. Some people just focus on one or the other, but it’s important to put in significant hours on both.

The test questions are difficult and they are going to be new to you. You need to know where some of the material is within the MPEP along with the ability to be able to find it very quickly so you can review the question and come up with the right answer.

It’s the mix of these two important strategies; learning high frequency test topic as well as where topics are found within the MPEP that is important.

We hope this study helps you with your patent bar prep planning!